FORT HAMILTON, NY – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers North Atlantic Division honors the career of NAD Deputy Commander Col. Samuel L. Volkman at a decommissioning ceremony at the Fort Hamilton Community Club on June 14. rice field. The ceremony coincided with the Army’s birthday, and Brigadier General Jeff Van Epps, commander of his USACE Northwest Division and a longtime friend and colleague of Mr. Volkmann, hosted the event.
“It’s a real honor to help Sam complete his illustrious career,” said Van Epps. “Sam has done it all and excelled wherever he has been.
At the award ceremony, Mr. Volkmann was awarded the Legion de Mérite and the Silver Medal de Fleury.
Volkmann joined the Army in 1995 after graduating from the Military Academy in West Point, New York with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering.
“The civil engineering department welcomed me into the company,” Volkmann said. “I was very, very happy. I can’t say enough about the department. There are great professors there who really care about their students.”
After commissioning, Volkmann’s first assignment was as Platoon Commander, Company Officer and Battalion S-4 with the 864th Engineer Battalion at Fort Lewis, Washington. His first company commander, Captain Kelly Butler, was a great mentor to him, he said.
“She was contagiously positive and a phenomenal leader,” said Volkmann. “I remember when I was a young second lieutenant, I was pouting and doing something. Captain Butler called me into his office and read me the Riot Act. And she said to me, “Everything you do and don’t do affects everyone, so you need to put a smile on your face.” Even if you’re having a miserable day, you need to make sure the people around you aren’t having a miserable day so you can inspire yourself to go out and do great things. I have. “
“She said your job is to influence people in a positive way, to make them think, to make them feel positive. You have to have it, but you don’t have to demean people in doing so.”
Throughout his career, Volkmann has worked throughout the United States, as well as in South Korea and Germany. He also served in Iraq, Afghanistan and Haiti, building and renovating hospitals, schools and many other buildings.
Volkmann looked back on his days as an army engineer.
“It’s been a great career. One of the great things about being an engineer is that it makes life better,” he said. “Someone once said, ‘If someone asks you what type of engineer you are, all you have to say is you’re a solutions person.’ I don’t really care but you’re the one who solves the problem.That’s why it’s great to be an engineer and USACE is such a great organization.We have such a big mission.We makes people’s lives better and safer, and that’s what we do at USACE.”
Volkmann was assigned to the NAD in July 2020 and said it was the “perfect end” to his Army career.
“This mission has been excellent. Being deputized for Maj. Gen. Thomas Tickner and Colonel John Lloyd, they have given me a lot of leeway to support the people and supporters in their work. ” said Volkmann. “It has also been a real pleasure to work with our regional business and program directors, past and present, including Karen Baker, Reinhard Koenig and John Primavera.
“Whatever this department does, it’s very broad and diverse to what we do in Europe and Africa. We have a great mission and great people.”
As retirement approaches, Volkmann looks forward to spending more time with his wife and son.
“I had an amazing life, but I didn’t realize how empty it was until I met my wife,” Volkmann said. “We didn’t get married until we were both 40. And your life changes. Seeing his success, I look forward to being more involved in his life.I’m just exceptionally blessed.”